Hidden beneath the Sylvian fissure and sometimes considered as the fifth lobe of the brain, the insula plays a multi-modal role from its strategic location. Previous structural studies have reported cortico-cortical connections with the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes, but only a few have looked at its connections with subcortical structures. The insular cortex plays a role in a wide range of functions including processing of visceral and somatosensory inputs, olfaction, audition, language, motivation, craving, addiction and emotions such as pain, empathy and disgust. These functions implicate numerous subcortical structures, as suggested by various functional studies. Based on these premises, we explored the structural connectivity of insular ROIs with the thalamus, amygdala, hippocampus, putamen, globus pallidus, caudate nucleus and nucleus accumbens. More precisely, we were interested in unraveling the specific areas of the insula connected to these subcortical structures. By using state-of-the-art HARDI tractography algorithm, we explored here the subcortical connectivity of the insula.
Ghaziri J, Tucholka A, Girard G, Boucher O, Houde JC, Descoteaux M, Obaid S, Gilbert G, Rouleau I, Nguyen DK. Subcortical structural connectivity of insular subregions. Sci Rep. 2018 Jun 5;8(1):8596. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26995-0.